The Manchurian Candidate: Asia and the Wider World



After months upon months of planning, plotting, working and hiatuses of various length, I'm very pleased to be kicking off my first fully fleshed out timeline, The Manchurian Candidate: Asia and the Wider World. This thread will serve as the centerpoint of my timeline and the continuining development process, inspired by Our Fair Country timeline by @Kanan as well as Hail, Britannia by @LeinadB93 and A Shining Valley by @Planita13 (I hope they don't mind me plugging them, but they absolutely deserve your attention if they don't already have it) - after so many months, if not years, of following these threads closely, I've decided to take the plunge and see if I can give back to the community by hopefully making something that people can follow along with and enjoy as well!

The Timeline's POD is in 1915, and centers around Yuan Shikai and the National Protection War which was sparked by his declaration of a new Chinese Empire, with him as Emperor. Needless to say, the details of exactly what happened will be expounded upon in short time, but a key focus of the timeline will be on the inter-Dynastic relations between the rump Qing state (more widely known ITTL as Manchuria), which is deep in the process of Democratic reforms, and the Chinese Empire, which remains mostly authoritarian and undemocratic. The name of the series reflects this focus, and as will be examined in due time, the first really free and fair elections in Manchuria are filled with pretty significant intrigue as rumors of Chinese influence in the electoral process swirl - thus, in a lot of ways, the title's reference to the classic movie of the same name is pretty fitting.

While the thread's main focus will start in Asia, I have plans and maps already drawn up for the rest of the world (fulfilling the 'wider world' portion of the timeline's title), and I'm really excited to show everyone here what this world looks like. I hope you'll join me for the journey!

I'm pretty new to this, and not everything is finalized, so I'd appreciate any pointers, advice or ideas everyone may have to offer!
 
This is very cool, and it's nice to see a Graphic timeline that isn't in the US. Beautiful map. I'm hopeful this manchuria can assert itself regionally, and not a puppet of Russia, China or Japan to the present day! Also hoping there is a manchu revival.
 
Interesting. I'll be keeping my eye on this, though I feel like this Manchuria, having a massive Han majority, might be well served by identifying as a multiethnic "Northeasterner" state rather than a Manchu ethnostate.
 
This is very cool, and it's nice to see a Graphic timeline that isn't in the US. Beautiful map. I'm hopeful this manchuria can assert itself regionally, and not a puppet of Russia, China or Japan to the present day! Also hoping there is a manchu revival.
Thank you! Yeah, I feel like a lot of graphics threads have been very west-centric, though I guess that reflects where most people are from irl. You'll see shortly, but Manchuria does have its own key niche in East Asia. And thank you for the complement! Glad you've taken an interest.

What's the population of Manchuria ITTL?
The population is around 50 million.

Interesting. I'll be keeping my eye on this, though I feel like this Manchuria, having a massive Han majority, might be well served by identifying as a multiethnic "Northeasterner" state rather than a Manchu ethnostate.
The population distribution is fairly different than IOTL, as a lack of PRC does mean that settlement efforts in Northeast China didn't balloon the Han population quite as large as it is today; in-timeline events have also shifted the demographics of Manchuria as compared to our own, though the exact numbers will be revealed later on. Manchuria is very diverse, though. Thanks for taking an interest!
 
The population distribution is fairly different than IOTL, as a lack of PRC does mean that settlement efforts in Northeast China didn't balloon the Han population quite as large as it is today; in-timeline events have also shifted the demographics of Manchuria as compared to our own, though the exact numbers will be revealed later on. Manchuria is very diverse, though. Thanks for taking an interest!
Hmm...I'll have to doubt that, and forgive me if I sound a bit agitated, but I've just seen this mistake crop up far too much on AH.com and many other sites. The vast majority of Han settlement did not occur during the PRC. Han Chinese settlement of Manchuria occured in two waves: first in the mid Qing Dynasty (primarily during Qianlong's reign) when Han/Manchu banner gentrymen invited Han tenant farmers; second in the Chuang Guandong wave of migrations from Shandong to Manchuria following the Taiping Rebellion, when the Qing Government sought to pre-empt Russian ambitions in Inner Manchuria. In any case, Manchuria was already overwhelmingly Han Chinese (80%, according to this source) by the end of Qianlong's reign in 1796, and that number only went up after the Taiping Rebellion, with Hans making up 96% in the Manchukuo era, and there being more Japanese than Manchus in the puppet regime. Unless there was to be an industrial genocide of the Han population, Hans would very, very likely be a solid majority in Manchuria.

That said, a Northeasterner regional identity, based on shared cultural values primarily between Northeastern Hans and Manchus is very likely, and was attempted by Zhang Zuolin and the Fengtian Clique. Give it a few decades, and that could evolve from a subgroup of the Hans into a proper ethnicity, aided by a Manchu cultural revival similar to (but much, much bigger) what we're seeing across China IOTL today. Think China's version of Ukrainians or Belorussians. Displacing or undercutting Han ethnic majorities is on the other hand...unadvisable. I would be open to being proven wrong, though.

I don't mean to sound hostile, and I sincerely apologize if I do. This is a fascinating TL with great potential, and as somewhat of a Manchu-o-phile myself, I wish you the best of luck.
 
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Hmm...I'll have to doubt that, and forgive me if I sound a bit agitated, but I've just seen this mistake crop up far too much on AH.com and many other sites. The vast majority of Han settlement did not occur during the PRC. Han Chinese settlement of Manchuria occured in two waves: first in the mid Qing Dynasty (primarily during Qianlong's reign) when Han/Manchu banner gentrymen invited Han tenant farmers; second in the Chuang Guandong wave of migrations from Shandong to Manchuria following the Taiping Rebellion, when the Qing Government sought to pre-empt Russian ambitions in Inner Manchuria. In any case, Manchuria was already overwhelmingly Han Chinese (80%, according to this source) by the end of Qianlong's reign in 1796, and that number only went up after the Taiping Rebellion, with Hans making up 96% in the Manchukuo era, and there being more Japanese than Manchus in the puppet regime. Unless there was to be an industrial genocide of the Han population, Hans would very, very likely be a solid majority in Manchuria.

That said, a Northeasterner regional identity, based on shared cultural values primarily between Northeastern Hans and Manchus is very likely, and was attempted by Zhang Zuolin and the Fengtian Clique. Give it a few decades, and that could evolve from a subgroup of the Hans into a proper ethnicity, aided by a Manchu cultural revival similar to (but much, much bigger) what we're seeing across China IOTL today. Think China's version of Ukrainians or Belorussians. Displacing or undercutting Han ethnic majorities is on the other hand...unadvisable. I would be open to being proven wrong, though.

I don't mean to sound hostile, and I sincerely apologize if I do. This is a fascinating TL with great potential, and as somewhat of a Manchu-o-phile myself, I wish you the best of luck.

Sorry for taking a few days to answer! Been busy with the 4th and work.

I get your concerns, and I'll say now that no, I didn't magically conjure up an ethnic Manchu majority - I'm well aware of the settlement patterns, I've done my research. Stick around and see how it pans out!
 
No pressure naturally, but are you planning updates for this? It looks very promising
Hey! Thanks for your interest - I've been working through some updates but I've recently gotten bogged down with both work and some unexpected family issues. Things are finally clearing up, though, and I hope people are still interested - I have a solid update coming out in the next few days.
 




After much delay, and more than a few lost files, here's the first major update to The Manchurian Candidate.

The Nanzhong Democratic Republic (雲南人民民主共和國)
is a state in Southeast Asia. Having officially split from the Chinese Empire completely by 1917, Nanzhong would be ruled by the authoritarian and dictatorial Yunnan Military Government, officially the Yunnan Republic, for nearly 50 years, before the onset of the Yunnanese Civil War between Nanzhong People's Front (南中人民陣線, 'Nánzhōngnmín zhènxiàn,' popularly known as the Nanrezh) and the Military Government, a major regional conflict which brought in both foreign powers and neighboring nations.
While Nanzhong has had difficulties over it's 60 year lifespan with human rights, rights of minorities and refugees from neighboring states, Nanzhong has been praised for it's relatively low levels of corruption, increasing human development and strong presence as a regional diplomatic mediator.

Thanks for your patience, some national wikiboxes will be coming up next to fill you all some more to the world of the Manchurian Candidate!
honestly it would make a bit more sense if the “Nanrezh” were called the “Nanrenzhen” instead
 
Qing Dynasty+Emperor Wikibox
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It's been a long while. Apologies, here's the next major update to The Manchurian Candidate.

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The Xianhui Emperor, born Yuzhang of the Aisin Gioro Royal house, is the incumbent Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, and has reigned since his coronation in 2015. Ascending upon the death of his father, the widely admired Renzun Emperor, Yuzhang's already advanced age (he was 73 on his coronation day) initially lead to speculation that the power of the Throne would recede under his tenure. However, Yuzhang quickly proved himself to be a dynamic ruler, and was able to push the Qing Parliament to enact further political reforms including a push for greater gender equality. The Emperor has also garnered praise for his handling of ethnic and cultural issues, and became the first Qing Emperor to give a speech in Russian to an assembled crowd in Harbin on Orthodox Christmas. A lifelong Buddhist, the Emperor has notably leveraged his faith to reach out to Han and Korean Qing citizens to appeal to cultural and national unity.

Emperor Xianhui's popularity would spike after his calm and resolute response to a new round of terror attacks within Hulunbuir carried out by Mongol nationalists; his diplomatic presence has also been frequently praised, and Yuzhang became the first Qing Emperor to visit the Forbidden Palace in Peking since the Manchu Restoration over a hundred years ago during a diplomatic mission to the Chinese Empire. The Emperor has also prioritized relations with the Japanese Empire and it's Co-Prosperity Sphere after a decade of slowly rising tensions, taking a more cautious approach to the Kwantung Question than his father did, conspicuously avoiding the issue altogether while abroad on diplomatic missions. Though well liked by much of the Qing population, the Emperor has already dealt with increased activity from Mongol and Korean nationalist groups in the few short years of his reign thusfar.

Though Yuzhang hails from a family well known for longevity (Puyi reigned for nearly 50 years following restoration, and the Xianhui Emperor's father lived well into his 90s), his poor health is an open secret and certain diplomatic and Imperial duties have already begun to fall to the Emperor's son, Heng Jin.

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The Xianhui Emperor is the ruler of the Empire of the Great Qing, known in the rest of China as the Northern or Later Qing Dynasty. While Yuzhang is officially the 15th Qing Emperor, dating back to the rise of the Qing Dynasty hundreds of years prior, he is more widely acknowledged to be the "恢復以來的第四位皇帝," the "Huīfù yǐlái de dì sì wèi huángdì." The Fourth Emperor Since Restoration. Indeed, the Interregnum between 1911 and 1917 stands as a 'hole in history' for the Qing Empire, which ceased to be following the Xinhai Revolution and was only revived following the National Protection War and the shortly following Manchu Restoration. Even then, for over 70 years following Restoration, the Qing Empire would continue to claim the entirety of it's former holdings to the South, a claim strongly disputed by the Chinese Empire and a diplomatic sticking point between the two neighbors. The current diplomatic relationship between the two Empires would only take shape with the signing of the Inter-Dynastic Treaty in Peking, which normalized relations between the Qing and Gang Dynasties and would ease tensions in East Asia.

While the rest of the world commonly refers to the Qing Empire as Manchuria or the Manchu Kingdom, the Qing Empire is only about a fifth ethnic Manchu, and is known generally as the melting pot of the Orient. Han Chinese citizens make up a plurality of the Qing population, and represent the largest demographic group in the country, even after the Northeast Expulsions of the 50's. After the ethnic Manchu, who benefited from decades of favorable cultural policies, Mongols represent the next relatively large ethnic group, and make up a majority of citizens in the Northwest Hulunbuir Province, which is home to Mongol Nationalist and Terrorist Groups seeking reunion with the mother country to the West. Koreans and Japanese citizens have likewise played a major role in the development of Qing nationhood, and both groups are strong advocates for Qing membership in the Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, a proposal made near-impossible by what is officially acknowledged in Mukden as the Occupation of the Kwantung Territory, widely known in foreign diplomatic circles as the "Kwantung Question." The Empire's Russian population has largely been clustered in the city of Harbin ("the Moscow of Asia") but waves of immigration from the Second World War and the Japanese Invasion of the Far East have made the country's Slavic population a significant demographic bloc at the polls, making Russian ethnic parties a frequent center of political intrigue.

A rapidly developing country (though still leagues behind the Chinese Empire proper), the cosmopolitan Qing Empire boasts cultural and economic strength and a high standard of living not always common in Asia.
 
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I figure I'll put out a post explaining the state of the timeline and the situation this thread is in: namely, why it's been inactive for half a year.

To put it simply, I probably started things a bit earlier than I should have - I didn't have the ideas fleshed out on paper and nearly right after I got things started, I started at a new university and had to deal with a much more difficult semester than I expected.

So what's the plan? I still have a lot of ideas and passion for this project and I'm hoping to see it grow and evolve to become as good a timeline as I can create - I still thing there's a berth of Western timelines and a real lack of an Asian or Eastern focus, so I'm planning on taking this timeline as far as it can go for as long as I can.

I've done a small retcon to my Yunnan post and will reupload with some better history behind it. Here's my basic roadmap for the next few weeks and months:

  • More information on the Qing Empire, a parliamentary infobox, some news from Mukden and an explanation of the Manchu restoration.
  • A delve into the Chinese Empire and the Gang Dynasty, how Yuan Shikai won and an explanation of the National Protection War.
  • A look at the Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Japanese Empire and the East Asian theatre of the Second World War.
  • And, finally, a world map, something I've been plugging away at for a while and should hopefully be ready soon.
Hope y'all join me for this journey, I'm really excited to be getting back to this timeline!
 
I'm excited you came back, it's never late if the news are good!

I've liked the update very much, looking forward to seeing this interesting nation and TL unfold.
 
Welcome back!

Thanks for the gift of the tiblets that I hope gets expanded on at a later date.

I'm guessing that, while not an official member of the Co-Prosperity Sphere, relations with Japan and Korea are still good enough that Manchuria is heavily economically linked to both powers. I'm also getting the vibe that Korea and Japan are on much better terms in this verse than in OTL. Was Japan saner in their occupation on Korea?
 
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